Wests Tigers turned on some champagne NRL to rack up 10 tries to one to totally embarrass the undermannedÂ Bulldogs 56-4 at ANZ Stadium in their round 21 NRL encounter.
Placed in 9th spot on the NRL Ladder, the Wests Tigers kept their Top 8 finals hopes alive with the win as they ran all over the Bulldogs.
The Tigers scored five tries to full-back Shannon Gallant (2), second rower Chris Heighington, winger Peni Tagive and lock Liam Fulton during the first half to the Bulldogs’ one, to lead 28-4 going into the break.
Wests were effective in exposing the gaping holes in the Bulldogs defence, particularly down the middle of the ruck, where the majority of the tries were scored.
The Bulldogs struggled to gain any cohesion during the game, with the off-field sagas surrounding Sonny Bill Williams and promising half-back Arana Taumata clearly proving to be a distraction.
The 23-year-old Williams walked out on the Bulldogs one year into his contract to skip the country and seek a contract with French rugby union club Toulon, while Taumata had his contract torn up after a disciplinary breach.
Bulldogs winger Heka Nanai scored their only try of the match in the 21st minute, with the usual sure-bet boot of Hazem El Masri leaving it unconverted.
The Tigers’ blitz continued during the second half with Wests adding another five tries to the total, including two in the last four minutes to Ben Te’o.
Wests centre Dene Halatau crossed in the 48th minute to score the first try of the second half, and it was a sign of things to come for the Bulldogs defence.
Shortly afterwards, Gallant’s hat-trick was disallowed due to an obstruction, but second rowers T’eo and Heighington put the finishing touches on the match with their second-half tries.
T’eo, on his last season with Wests, will be moving to the Broncos next season.
Wests Tigers: 56 (S Gallant 2, C Heighington 2, B T’eo 2, P Tagive, L Fulton, D Halatau, B Marshall tries; B Marshall 8 conversions)
Bulldogs: 4 (H Nanai try)